Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
20 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accuses Beijing of “gross and egregious” human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang. In an op-ed for Arab News, Azeem Ibrahim argues that Bangladesh is using COVID-19 cover to move Rohingya to Bhashan Char. Our recommended read today is by Jayshree Bajoria on an independent report highlighting police inaction during the anti-Muslim pogroms in Delhi this past February. This, and more, below:


20 Jul 2020

India’s Police Found Complicit in Anti-Muslim Mob Violence | Recommended Read

An independent investigation into attacks on Muslims by Hindu mobs in Delhi in February 2020 found that police were complicit in and even abetted the violence. The attacks came after weeks of peaceful protests against the Indian government’s discriminatory citizenship policies. Witnesses say that when they asked police for help during the violence, they refused, saying “they had no orders to act.” The report, by the Delhi Minorities Commission, said that the violence was “planned and targeted.” It also found that the police were filing cases against Muslim victims for the violence, but not taking action against the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders who incited it. Some BJP leaders openly advocated violence against the protesters. The attacks began soon after a local BJP politician demanded that the police disperse the peaceful protests. At least 53 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the violence, most of them Muslim. Human Rights Watch has documented police failures and bias in the investigation into the February violence. Instead of addressing police abuse and carrying out a fair investigation, police are now using draconian anti-terrorism, sedition, and other laws to arrest students, activists, and critics of the government. Delhi police deny these allegations, saying the number of people arrested from the two communities are “almost identical,” but have failed to disclose arrest details. In April, the head of the Delhi Minorities Commission, who questioned the police about the arrests, was charged with sedition for making “provocative” statements on social media. read the complete article

Recommended Read
20 Jul 2020

India coronavirus: 'Our neighbours made us Covid-19 pariahs'

With more than one million reported infections, India has the world's third-largest case load of Covid-19. As the virus spreads, so do fear and stigma, inflicting the rich and the poor, and pervading cities and villages. "Fear and stigma have devoured us," says M Mitra, a Kolkata-based homemaker whose father had tested positive for the disease. At the receiving end of the stigma are people who have been infected and recovered from the disease, health workers and doctors. The United Nations says "fears, rumours and stigma" are key challenges accompanying Covid-19 globally. In India, social stigma around the disease has led to people being labelled and discriminated against. It has forced people to hide illness, avoid tests and delay hospitalisation, often with fatal consequences. Stigma attached to quarantine has meant that people returning from isolation are often treated as outcasts. In April an incident involving an Indian Islamic organisation, Tablighi Jamaat, caused massive outrage and led to reports of Islamophobia across the country. Such social pressure can have catastrophic consequences. In many parts of their town, authorities had marked houses with Covid-19 patients by putting up bamboo barricades in front. In other parts, they put up signs like "Danger, Covid ahead", pointing to houses with patients. "The virus is like a death sentence for many. They believe if the disease doesn't kill you, the stigma will," says Abhijit Chowdhury, a physician who runs Covid Care Network, comprising a group of volunteers and a helpline to tackle stigma. read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

India Rounds Up Critics Under Shadow of Virus Crisis, Activists Say

As India struggles to quell surging coronavirus infections, lawyers accuse the authorities of rounding up government critics and keeping them in detention in the middle of a pandemic. It is part of a strategy, they say, to stifle activists who are protesting what they see as iron-fisted and anti-minority policies under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In recent weeks, Ms. Narwal and nearly a dozen other prominent activists — along with potentially dozens of other demonstrators, though police records are unclear — have been detained. They are being held under stringent sedition and antiterrorism laws that have been used to criminalize everything from leading rallies to posting political messages on social media. India’s coronavirus restrictions, some of which are still in effect, have blocked pathways to justice, lawyers and rights activists say. With courts closed for weeks, lawyers have struggled to file bail applications, and meeting privately with prisoners has been nearly impossible. Law enforcement officials in New Delhi, who are under the direct control of India’s home ministry, have denied any impropriety. But rights groups say the arrests have been arbitrary, based on scant evidence and in line with a broader deterioration of free speech in India. In a lengthy report released this month, the Delhi Minorities Commission, a government body, accused the police and politicians from Mr. Modi’s party of inciting brutal attacks on protesters and supporting a “pogrom” against minority Muslims. read the complete article


20 Jul 2020

Uyghur father in Australia fears for his wife and children trapped in Xinjiang

Mamutjan Abdurehim hasn't been able to hug his wife or young children in almost five years. He's never spoken about his family's ordeal publicly before, hoping his silence might mean he could reunite in Australia with his wife Muherrem Ablet, his 10-year-old-daughter Muhlise and his five-year-old son Hikmet. But a new development has "effectively crumbled" his hope of a quiet reunion. After years apart and fresh fears his wife has been incarcerated in one of China's mass internment camps, he's decided to speak out for the first time. The Sydneysider is a Uyghur, part of the Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic minority facing persecution in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been internationally condemned, including by Australia, for its detention and surveillance of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. Allegations are rife about forced sterilisation of Uyghur women, forced labour in factories, and other measures amounting to what has been described as cultural genocide. Mr Abdurehim holds grave fears for his wife and two children in the city of Kashgar. But the lack of certainty about their fate is one of the most painful parts of their separation. "It's like psychological torture," he said. "The core, the immediate family, is everything you have. Without them, you're like a dead person, just … you're lost." read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

Wearing a Mask? It May Come From China’s Controversial Labor Program

Our visual investigation reveals that several Chinese companies are using Uighur labor from a contentious government program to produce P.P.E. during the pandemic. We track some of that equipment to the U.S. and around the world. read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

Chinese ambassador ignores shocking footage of Uighur Muslims loaded onto trains

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming was initially silent when shown the footage before interjecting: ‘I don’t know where you get this tape. Sometimes you have a transfer of prisoners, in any country.’ He then asked Mr Marr if he had been to Xinjiang, describing it as ‘the most beautiful place’. Before the interviewer raised the prospect of the prisoners’ Muslim identities Mr Liu began to make claims of ‘thousands of terrorist attacks’ that have taken place in Xinjiang since the 1990s. While not admitting to human rights abuses, the Chinese government acknowledges the existence of ‘Vocational Education and Training Centers’ since 2017 as part of a ‘people’s war on terror’. read the complete article

United States

20 Jul 2020

St. Cloud State grad faces anti-Muslim backlash in bid for Minneapolis seat

Suud Olat has been the target of online abuse and anti-Muslim posts since he announced his candidacy for Minneapolis City Council earlier this year. Olat, a 29-year-old Somali refugee, is one of 12 candidates running in a special election for City Council in Minneapolis' Ward 6. He's not the only East African candidate, and he's not the only one to experience racist attacks. "Islamophobia is real," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "The more public you are the more likely you are to be targeted." Olat may get additional push back because of his ties to St. Cloud, which is home to some anti-Muslim activity, Hussein said. Olat's parents live in St. Cloud and he graduated from St. Cloud State University last year. Hussein is also a SCSU graduate. read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

Coronavirus Victims: 1st Muslim Prison Chaplain In Texas, Akbar Nurid-Din Shabazz

Akbar Nurid-Din Shabazz, the first Muslim chaplain in the Texas criminal justice system, died of COVID-19 on April 23. He was 70. Eugene Farooq was Shabazz's longtime friend and colleague. Farooq credits him with revolutionizing and expanding Islam in the Texas prison system. EUGENE FAROOQ: Someone very dedicated who sacrificed a lot of pleasures in life to give attention to men who really needed it most. MCCAMMON: Men like Basile Abdullah (ph). Abdullah grew close to Shabazz while he was in prison. He was struck by Shabazz's commitment to care for every inmate no matter their religious beliefs. CHANG: When Abdullah's life sentence was reversed, he promised to make a contribution to his local Islamic community by building a mosque. But his prison record got in the way, which is when Shabazz told him... BASILE ABDULLAH: Never let someone change you from your identity. Make the best of that identity. Don't be ashamed of that identity. MCCAMMON: Finally, in 2008, Abdullah and former inmates set up a mosque in Houston. read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

'I want people to know that there's no singular way to be a Muslim woman'

Fahmida Azim is a 25-year-old illustrator, graphic designer and author who was born in rural Bangladesh and now lives in Seattle, USA. She's just illustrated her debut book, Muslim Women Are Everything. Here, she shares how her faith intersects with her identity, and why society needs to accept that there is no one way to be Muslim... I don't want other women to feel like I did, and that's why I want people to know that there's no singular way to be Muslim. We are so varied in our experiences. We’re a kaleidoscope of intersecting cultures, ancestors, orientations and sexualities touched by the same spiritual thread. It would be hugely ignorant to flatten us to a single representation, yet we are so often confined and constrained by society's definitions and expectations. As Muslim women we are all different, yet everyone – from school-kids to the government and the media – seems to have an opinion on what we can and can’t do. Alongside regular microaggressions and systemic prejudice, there’s a never-ending parade of preconceived, predetermined expectations and judgements of what we can wear, where we can go, who we can love, and what ambitions we can have. read the complete article


20 Jul 2020

Srebrenica Genocide 25 Years On: Lessons for European Muslims

The Srebrenica genocide of 1995, during which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed, was the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. This massacre occurred in the midst of the systematic ethnic cleansing of Bosniak Muslims in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. A quarter of a century later, Almasa Salihovic and Emir Suljagic, survivors of Srebrenica, along with Safet Vukalic, a survivor of the 1992 Prijedor massacre, believe the lessons of this tragic event are being ignored as open genocide denial from the Bosnian Serb leadership becomes more brazen and nationalist. This, also, at a time when far-right political discourse becomes normalised across Europe. In the light of far-right terrorists worldwide using Bosnia as inspiration for the persecution of Muslims, Almasa says her responsibility is not just in the fighting of the government’s genocide denial, but is in the vanguard of a global struggle to speak about Srebrenica in the same way as the Holocaust is remembered. The perpetrator behind last year’s massacre in a Mosque in Christchurch, sang along to Serbian nationalist songs glorifying those behind Srebrenica - people such as Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic - as he live-streamed the murders of 51 worshippers. The white supremacist Norwegian terrorist, Anders Brevik, mentioned Bosnia 300 times in his manifesto. read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

UK accuses China of 'gross and egregious' human rights abuses against Uyghur population in Xinjiang

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has accused Beijing of "gross and egregious" human rights abuses against its Uyghur population in China's autonomous region of Xinjiang. It came on a day when Britain and China threw public criticisms of each other, with the UK Foreign Secretary also hinting that he may suspend the UK's extradition arrangements with Hong Kong over China's moves against the city-state. The comments were the latest signs of sharply increased tensions between the UK and China. Issues include China's treatment of its Uyghur minority and a new, sweeping national security law that China imposed on Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous territory that Britain handed over to China in 1997. Britain's recent decision to prohibit Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from being involved in the UK's superfast 5G mobile network has further frayed bilateral relations. read the complete article

United Kingdom

20 Jul 2020

Police consider dropping terms 'Islamist terror' or 'jihadi' because they 'don't help community relations'

Police are considering dropping the terms 'Islamist terror' and 'jihadi' because they 'don't help community relations.' Alternatives suggested include 'faith-claimed terrorism', 'terrorists abusing religious motivations' and 'adherents of Osama bin Laden's ideology,' The Times reported. A Muslim police organisation claimed today's official terminology fuelled negative perceptions, stereotypes, discrimination and Islamophobia. Police are considering dropping the terms 'Islamist terror' and 'jihadi' because they 'don't help community relations.' Alternatives suggested include 'faith-claimed terrorism', 'terrorists abusing religious motivations' and 'adherents of Osama bin Laden's ideology,' The Times reported. A Muslim police organisation claimed today's official terminology fuelled negative perceptions, stereotypes, discrimination and Islamophobia. The police told The Times that changes to the phraseology were not certain. Attacks such as the London bombings of 2005 as well as the Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester Arena assaults, all in 2017, have been officially deemed 'Islamist terrorism.' But the 3,000-strong National Association of Muslim Police advocated 'a change in culture by moving away from using terms which have a direct link to Islam and jihad. These ... do not help community relations and public confidence.' read the complete article

20 Jul 2020

How lockdown community spirit could help tackle Islamophobia in the North East

A report, produced by Newcastle University, Northumbria University and TellMAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), shows that nearly 70% of Muslims experience anti-Muslim racism regularly and nearly 75% of them feel like it is getting worse. And its authors say that active steps are needed to retain and build on strong community links forged during lockdown, such as highlighting Muslim communities in a positive way. The Bahr Academy in Newcastle's West End has twice been attacked by vandals in the past year, with the words 'Moslem terrorists' and a swastika being scrawled on the Benwell Lane school's walls during one incident. Researchers at Newcastle University say the community spirit shown during the coronavirus crisis could provide a foundation for greater understanding and improved relations between different communities. The ‘Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred in North East England’ report published following research carried out across the North East, highlights the extent and character of Islamophobia across the region and the impact it has on Muslim communities. Among the recommendations made in the report is the need for improved education about Muslims and Islam, including more community projects to build bridges between different ethnic and faith groups. read the complete article


20 Jul 2020

Bangladesh uses COVID-19 cover to move Rohingya to Bhashan Char

So, when Bangladesh conceded and eventually announced in April it was rescuing the abandoned Rohingya, there was relief among family members who were expecting only the worst news. When Dhaka further announced that, under its new COVID-19 protocols, those rescued from sea would be temporarily quarantined on the remote island of Bhashan Char, few protested. After all, the Rohingya camps at Cox’s Bazar are among the most densely populated refugee camps in the world. Any outbreak of the virus there would be deadly. Protecting the camps had to be the No. 1 priority. However, it has now transpired that the move by Bangladesh was not a temporary quarantine measure, but a mechanism to move the first wave of Rohingya to the uninhabited island, which has long been resisted by the Rohingya. Now that the first group has been settled on the island, Dhaka has plans to relocate more refugees from Cox’s Bazar to Bhashan Char. Many, many more. Bhashan Char is a silty, low-level island on the coast of Bangladesh. Experts believe it is very vulnerable to flooding and not suitable for long-term human habitation. But the government of Bangladesh had already built refugee camp infrastructure on the island with the thought of relocating large numbers of Rohingya there — a plan that drew very harsh and merited criticism from the international community and the Rohingya at the time. It was hoped that this plan had been shelved. But, by choosing to quarantine those rescued from the boats on this island, the question of the relocation was reopened. read the complete article

Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 Jul 2020

Guest column: Remembering genocide an important part of fighting against it

In early July 1995, military and paramilitary troops of the self-declared Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (RS) rounded up over 8,000 innocent Bosniak men and boys in the supposed UN ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica. The civilians were massacred and thrown in mass graves, while tens of thousands of other Bosniak men, women and children were driven from their homes. These are facts. As I wrote last year, international organizations, courts, state governments and scholars have all concluded that the acts committed by Serbian forces in Srebrenica constituted genocide. The shame of Srebrenica was but one of many in what became euphemistically called the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims from the region. Last weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Bosnians across the diaspora use this time to mourn and reflect on what is still a recent, painful history. Yet Bosnians are also asking others to use this somber milestone to commemorate the genocide, and recommit to fighting genocide denial and all forms of hate. This anniversary is important for all of us here in Canada, in this moment when our politics and civic discourse are plagued by more disinformation, propaganda and xenophobia than ever. Genocide denial has escalated in the past few years at an alarming rate. Politicians in Serbia and RS have engaged in historical revisionism and cruel bullying of genocide survivors. The Serb representative in the Bosnian presidency has called the atrocities in Srebrenica “the greatest deception of the 20th century” and a “staged tragedy”. On the death of the leader of the Mothers of Srebrenica survivor group whose husband and two sons were killed in the genocide, the Deputy Speaker of the Serbian Parliament tweeted: “I read that Hatidza Mehmetovic from the association of Srebrenica businesswomen has died. Who is going to bury her? The husband or sons?” And last week, several Serb MPs walked out of the Kosovo Parliament during a moment of silence for the victims of the genocide. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 Jul 2020 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results